Why images matter
It’s worth noting that the images you use on your website can be ranked in image searches, so they absolutely have the ability to bring more visitors to your site. Images also help search engines to understand what your site and it’s page content is all about.
Think of images as “content”, content that not only improves the user experience but helps boost your SEO. Your SEO strategy should always include the use of relevant images.
These four tips will help your site to load faster and may improve SEO rankings over time:
Keep it simple
Use images that complement the text, but are lightweight and will download faster. Images that have lots of patterns, textures, and colors are often large in size. (For those less experienced: I’m not talking about the dimensions of the picture, but the file size or “how much it weighs” as in how many KB or MB it is.) When you use images in this way, it can actually help you to improve SEO rankings.
Images with words superimposed on them will tend to weigh more than images that don’t have words on them. If you absolutely have to have words superimposed on the image, save that image as a PNG file rather than a JPEG. Illustrations with words superimposed on them work better than photos with words. You could also save the photo as a GIF, but experiment with that. Sometimes GIFS are treated as animation and will have a “play” button on top of them.
Keep in mind that using other types of features in your images can also make them larger. For example, adding drop shadows and gradients will increase file size.
Remember: images need to load quickly, and very quickly on smaller mobile devices.
Make your image smaller but don’t use HTML or CSS to do this because you won’t save any weight. The image will render at a smaller appearing size (the number of pixels) but the weight will stay the same.
Instead, use an app like Irfanview to compress image files and maintain their quality. Irfanview (www.irfanview.com) is free, and resizing an image takes literally just a few clicks. The image will weigh less but will retain its original quality, all within seconds. Upload the compressed image to your site to improve SEO rankings.
Ensure that your images make sense and are relevant to the content. Don’t use them solely to make the page interesting-looking or attractive. Doing that would add weight for no good reason and your page would load slower, giving your visitors a sub-par experience.
Make sure all of the page photos and images are accessible to seriously-visually-impaired and blind people. Always use the “alt image” field to describe the photo, rather than using it as an opportunity for keyword stuffing.
Also within the realm of accessibility, you may want to limit the use of emoji’s and GIFS and to consider using color-contrasted text and buttons so that visually impaired people will be able to enjoy using the site.
Don’t forget to add “alt text” and captions, so that screen readers will be able to inform the visually impaired user of what’s on the screen.
With a little forethought and planning, your site could rank a little higher because of your images, and how you used them to improve SEO rankings.
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About the author
I developed Image and Aspect because I believe that professionals need to have an impactful web presence. One that showcases their unique talents, skills, and abilities as well as their values and style. A presence that focuses on social engagement and connection.
I’m passionate about what I do; I like helping fellow humans, I like having all kinds of social connection with others, and I want to give back, to make the world a better place.
I do much of the designing and coding myself, and I also have a wonderful network of professionals that may contribute as well; photographers, copywriters, branding experts.
I love designing and coding beautiful, elegant and responsive web creations. I ALSO teach and help others who want to learn how to do it themselves.
‘Tips and Snips’ is my blog, and it’s full of information and inspiration to help transform any online persona from “meh” to AMAZING! Sign-up HERE to get blog posts right to your in-box every Friday! I write about Design, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Branding, Vlogging, Color Theory, HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, WordPress, Social Media…anything you’d want to know to get yourself noticed online.
Diane M. Metcalf, M.S.